Sunday, 1 July 2012

The extended family of China´s next president have amassed enormous riches

Corruption is literally built into the foundations of modern China. The construction and infrastructure sectors are two of the most corrupt in country, putting at risk China's vaunted development, and also potentially endangering its neighbors.
Cleo Pascal, Associate Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs

The gap between rich and poor has become so inflammatory and unsustainable that the Chinese government has simply stopped releasing an official measure of the distribution of wealth. (Unofficial studies now put China’s inequality beyond the point that a former Prime Minister once estimated would trigger social unrest.)
Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

There are differences between the current regimes in Russia and China, but the countries share one common characteristic; both are run by a bunch of corrupt thieves. 

And it does not look that matters are going to improve very much either, with Vladimir Putin as the de facto lifetime president in Russia and Xi Jinping as the new president in China.

Bloomberg has compiled some interesting facts about Xi and his extended family: 

Xi Jinping, the man in line to be China’s next president, warned officials on a 2004 anti-graft conference call: “Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff, and vow not to use power for personal gain.”
As Xi climbed the Communist Party ranks, his extended family expanded their business interests to include minerals, real estate and mobile-phone equipment, according to public documents compiled by Bloomberg.
Those interests include investments in companies with total assets of $376 million; an 18 percent indirect stake in a rare- earths company with $1.73 billion in assets; and a $20.2 million holding in a publicly traded technology company. The figures don’t account for liabilities and thus don’t reflect the family’s net worth.
Most of the extended Xi family’s assets traced by Bloomberg were owned by Xi’s older sister,Qi Qiaoqiao, 63; her husband Deng Jiagui, 61; and Qi’s daughter Zhang Yannan, 33, according to public records compiled by Bloomberg.
Deng, reached on his mobile phone, said he was retired. When asked about his wife, Zhang and their businesses across the country, he said: “It’s not convenient for me to talk to you about this too much.” Attempts to reach Qi and Zhang directly or through their companies by phone and fax, as well as visits to addresses found on filings, were unsuccessful.
The trail also leads to a hillside villa overlooking the South China Sea in Hong Kong, with an estimated value of $31.5 million. The doorbell ringer dangles from its wires, and neighbors say the house has been empty for years. The family owns at least six other Hong Kong properties with a combined estimated value of $24.1 million.
The Bloomberg team adds: 
No assets were traced to Xi, who turns 59 this month; his wife Peng Liyuan, 49, a famous People’s Liberation Army singer; or their daughter, the documents show. There is no indication Xi intervened to advance his relatives’ business transactions, or of any wrongdoing by Xi or his extended family.
It is of course no surprise that it cannot be proven that Xi, his wife and their daughter are directly involved in the family´s business deals, but nobody believes that the extended family´s enormous riches would have been possible without the political influence of Xi.

Neither is this a surprise:

China blocked access to Bloomberg’s website on the mainland after the business and financial news agency published a report Friday detailing the multimillion-dollar assets of relatives of the man set to become the country’s next president.

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